“Mister, can I ask you a question? Are you an angel?”
As I boarded this flight to the Philippines a few months back, I wasn’t in my “A+” attitude. Truth be told, I was in a bit of a cloudy funk. Nursing a ruptured disc in my lower back, I literally couldn’t stand up for more than three minutes without feeling extreme pain. The thought of sitting on a plane for 20 hours ranked with root canal surgery.
But I am a good soldier. And as co-founder and president of compassion2one, the non-profit Julie and I founded to help victims of sex trafficking, it was an essential trip that I had made a commitment to. So I was, stuck, committed. Did I mention that it was August and 95 degrees with humidity? It felt like there were zillions of people everywhere, there was smog. I stopped for a moment and focused myself on the goal. I sat there and reminded myself who I was and what I was doing. “Hello Mr. Emotionally Intelligent! Mr. Coach Steve! Hello!”
The Night that Changed My World
On our fifth night of our trip we had arranged to go directly into the “Red Light District” to feed local prostitutes and provide hygiene packs. The proper arrangements were made my local volunteers that were also coming to help.
As we arrived in our little cabs, there they were. There were over 150 moms, babies, and children lined up on the sidewalk. We served rice cups and passed out the hygiene packs. They were a group of truly grateful hearts and open souls.
One thin woman with a baby on her hip kept following me, brushing against me and looking into my eyes. I would smile and ask if she had everything she needed. I felt it was more of a sense of security she was searching for. She would look at me as a teenager would look to a father figure. After all she was a teen mom; she could have been my daughter.
Finally, having done all we could for the night, we headed back to the cabs. Yet the young woman followed me. As I climbed in the car, she bent down and said the words that are forever burned in my soul:
“Mr. can I ask you a question? Are you an angel?”
I was speechless. I stammered out something along the lines “no honey, I am just a guy from Seattle here to let you know you are loved and that you matter to me.” Simple words! Inadequate words! As we drove back to our hotel I put my head back against the seat. I asked God to forgive me for my narrow, self-serving attitude. I asked Him to somehow, in some way, change me so I could serve better. For after all, my stated purpose is to inspire OTHERS to greatness. Not myself. OTHERS.
My Personal Challenge to Myself (and maybe you?)
- In business… whatever your business focus is, focus 100% on OTHERS. 100%
- In relationships… quit the narrow thought process of “what can I get.” Be a true giver with heart and soul
- In assignments of family and friends… seek their good, their interest. Not just yours
I never want to pretend to anyone that I am a great leader or a great man. I want to strive towards greatness by putting others first. It is a life-long quest!
My mentor gave me a little sign before he passed away. It sits on my desk and it reads “Others.”
Final note: if you’re still wondering, no, I am not an Angel. Not even close. But we can all strive to live our lives angelically.
You matter to me. Feel Angelic!